How to Get Smell Out of Leather Shoes

Smelly shoes are one of the most uncomfortable things to deal with in social situations.  We have all been in a predicament where we have not wanted to take off our shoes to avoid unleashing our individual foot odor. 


Due to the nature of leather, removing the odor is additionally challenging as the material often does not react well to water.  Fortunately, there exists several solutions for removing this unpleasant aroma from leather shoes without washing the entire shoe.  This guide will provide a range of solutions will be provided to aid in the elimination of your personal brand of odor.

 
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General Household Solutions

These functions will help in neutralizing nearly any odors that exist within leather shoes. Use more than just one of the below solutions for greater success.

1 Baking Soda

Baking soda is one of the most effective household solutions for the absorption of unwanted odors.   Measure a half cup of baking soda for each shoes and pour into opening.  Shake shoe lightly to disperse the powder evenly across the base of the padding.  Finally, place shoes within an enclosed  paper bag or cardboard box.  Allow the shoes to sit for 24 hours before pouring the baking soda out and wearing the freshened footwear.

 

2 Activated Charcoal

Though slower than other methods, this solution works great in absorbing odors from the interior of leather shoes. Place two activated charcoal briquettes within both ends of an old pair of nylon leggings.  Proceed to place one end in one shoe and the other end deep within the second shoe.  Next place this all within a cardboard box or brown bag, and allow for it to sit for 3-4 days.  After this time has passed, you can remove the nylon enclosed charcoal from the leather shoes and wear them without any residual odors.

 

3 White Vinegar

This household substance is used in a variety circumstances for cutting through difficult odors.  Soak two socks within white vinegar and then lay them along the length of the shoe’s interior.  Place shoes within a enclosed plastic bag for 24 hours before removing them to air dry.   Upon removing the shoes from the bag, pull out the socks and allow 8 hours for the smell of the white vinegar to evaporate away.

 

4 Crumpled Newspaper & Vanilla Extract

Crumpled newspaper and vanilla is a wonderful combination for removing odors from leather shoes.  Once you have crumpled enough newspaper to fill both shoes, sprinkle light amounts of vanilla extract on the paper before filling the shoes. The newspaper will slowly absorb the odor while the vanilla extract adds a desirable aroma.  Keep the newspaper wads within the shoes for an entire day for best deodorizing results.

 

5 Clean Cat Litter

This substance works just as well with cat droppings as it does with neutralizing shoe odors.  Measure a half cup of clean cat litter and pour within each shoe.  Be sure to lightly shuffle the shoes to evenly distribute the contents along the bottom padding. Next, place the shoes inside an enclosed brown bag or cardboard box.  Allow shoes to sit for 24 hours before returning to pour out the cat litter and begin wearing the shoes again.

 

6 Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds can absorb odors and freshen by enhancing the shoes with subtitle coffee bean aroma.  Pour coffee grounds within a filter and push contents within the footwear to the toe area of the shoe.  Allow for the shoes to sit for 24-48 hours before removing the filter containing the grains.  Take precaution to avoid spilling any grains within the interior of the shoe as this may cause staining within the padding.

 

7 Fabric Softener Sheets

If the above materials are not available, fabric softner sheets can be used to mask the odor.  Place three sheets within each shoe, and leave to sit over night.  The leather shoes may still contain a hint of odor, but the majority of the foot stench will be masked by the dryer sheets.

 

8 Replace Cushion

In the worst case scenarios, replacing the cushioning within the leather shoe is an effective and affordable solution for treating odors within leather shoes.  Replacement cushions can be purchased starting at 10 dollars.

 

Preventative Solutions

The following suggestions are preventative actions to avoid the need to deodorize shoes.

1 Rotate Shoes

By rotating shoes, you are provide the shoes a daily breather to aerate in-between uses. Less sweat accumulation, means that less odorous bacteria will be living within the shoe. This in invaluable in cutting down on built up foot odors within leather shoes.

 

2 Reuse Activated Charcoal Nightly

By ritualistically using activated charcoal within your shoes when they are not in use, you can be assured that they never develop an odor.  After enclosing the charcoal within an old pair of nylon leggings, the same homemade insert can be used for multiple months before loosing some of it’s effectiveness.


 

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